Ependymoma Medication

Updated: Jul 21, 2021
  • Author: Jeffrey N Bruce, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert H Engelhard, III, MD, PhD, FACS, FAANS  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

No specific medications exist to treat ependymomas; however, supratentorial ependymomas require medical treatment. For seizures, the patient is usually started on levetiracetam (Keppra), phenytoin (Dilantin), or carbamazepine (Tegretol). Levetiracetam is often used because it lacks the effects on the P450 system seen with phenytoin and carbamazepine, which can interfere with antineoplastic therapy. Vasogenic cerebral edema is treated with corticosteroids (eg, dexamethasone), generally in combination with an anti-ulcer agent. Corticosteroids also are effective to treat edema associated with intramedullary tumors in the preoperative and postoperative settings.

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Anticonvulsants

Class Summary

These agents are used to treat and to prevent seizures.

Levetiracetam (Keppra)

Used as adjunct therapy for partial seizures and myoclonic seizures. Also indicated for primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Mechanism of action is unknown.

Phenytoin (Dilantin)

Blocks sodium channels and prevents repetitive firing of action potentials. Effective anticonvulsant and first-line agent in treating partial and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Like phenytoin, interacts with sodium channels and blocks repetitive neuronal firing. First-line agent to treat partial seizures and may be used for tonic-clonic seizures as well. Extended release form available, which is administered bid. Serum drug levels should be monitored (ideal range is 4-8 mcg/mL).

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Corticosteroids

Class Summary

These agents reduce peritumoral edema, frequently leading to symptomatic and objective improvement.

Dexamethasone (Decadron)

Postulated mechanisms of action in brain tumors include reduction in vascular permeability, cytotoxic effects on tumors, inhibition of tumor formation, and decreased CSF production.

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